« Following Prez Biden's lead, Oregon Gov pardons over 47,000 marijuana possession convictions | Main | Rounding up some criminal justice news and notes over holiday week »

November 23, 2022

Sentencing judge recommended prison camp for Elizabeth Holmes to serve her sentence

As reported in this new press piece, "District Judge Edward Davila has proposed sentencing Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to a federal prison camp in Texas, according to court filings." Here is more:

“The Court finds that family visitation enhances rehabilitation,” Davila wrote in the filing, according to Bloomberg, which summarized the terms of Holmes’ sentencing.

The prison camp is located in Bryan, Texas, and was proposed as an alternative to Holmes serving her 11-year 3-month sentence at a California prison.  There’s a few prison camps like this one across the country that typically have a low security-to-inmate ratio, dormitory housing, and a work program. “...compared to other places in the prison system, this place is heaven.  If you have to go it’s a good place to go.” Alan Ellis, a criminal defense lawyer, told Bloomberg.

Keri Axel, a criminal defense attorney told Yahoo! Finance that it is common for non-violent offenders like Holmes to serve out their time at minimum security facilities.  “Sometimes they’re called ‘Camp Fed’ because they have a little bit more amenities, and they’re a little nicer places,” she said, adding the caveat, “they’re not great places. No one wants to be there.”

Although the judge has recommended the prison camp for Holmes’ incarceration, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will make the final decision.  Holmes was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison on November 18 after she was found guilty of defrauding Theranos investors out of millions of dollars as part of her failed blood-testing startup.  She was also sentenced to three years of supervision after her release.

Prior related posts:

November 23, 2022 at 11:48 AM | Permalink


I would only add one comment and most of us in the criminal justice field are keenly aware of this - the Judge's recommendation is only that. The BOP will designate at Grand Prairie where Holmes will be assigned. One should also know that according to the BOP -

"Minimum-security camps hold federal inmates who are within 10 years of their release date, do not have documented histories of violence, and do not have any record of escape attempts."

With her 11 year sentence, I assume she will still qualify for a camp because her release date will likely be less than 10 years due to good time credit and First Step Act credits she should earn.

Posted by: atomicfrog | Nov 23, 2022 12:52:51 PM

Quite true. In my experience the BOP just ignores these recommendations.

Posted by: AFPD | Nov 23, 2022 1:24:35 PM

She is not camp eligible at the time of initial designation. She's over 10 years out. They don't include FSA credits in that determination.

The BOP is required by law to take into consideration the judge's recommendation.

Posted by: Zachary Newland | Nov 23, 2022 6:04:40 PM

@Zachary: Do they consider the good time that existed prior to the First Step Act? That would seem to put her just under 10.

Posted by: Jason | Nov 23, 2022 9:25:47 PM

Sure, BOP is required to consider the judge's recommendation, but per 18 USC 3621(b), "a designation of a place of imprisonment under this subsection is not reviewable by any court," so this is a totally meaningless requirement.

Posted by: AFPD | Nov 23, 2022 11:33:54 PM

The non-attorney press has completely missed the 10-year sentence limit to be camp-eligible. I have written about that time limit in an earlier, recent post. But maybe in the case of Elizabeth Holmes, the BOP will bend the rules? And he is correct, the BOP routinely ignores the Court's recommended prison placement.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Nov 24, 2022 11:25:25 PM

Unless there is a risk I am unaware of, she should obviously be at a prison camp. Unlikely to run away, unlikely to physically attack anyone, and so forth.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Nov 26, 2022 12:31:35 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB